Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: sans domicile fixe
Breaking AFL report (you're reading it here first)
Re: The Sydney Swans v Geelong Cats AFL elimination final played at the SCG on the 9th August 2005.
As I'm sure many of you are aware, the Sydney Swans AFL side scored an emphatic victory last week, breaking the Geelong Cats' hearts with Nick Davis kicking the winning goal only seconds before the final siren sounded. Those of you who watched the game, may remember the passage of play from which Davis snared his miracle goal - a vital element of which was overlooked by everyone in the country, bar a few people with insider knowledge.
The ball was locked up in a tackle around 20m out from Sydney's goal. The umpire then threw it up in the air, with Jason Ball winning the hitout knocking it towards the swans goal, resulting in the consequent crumbing by Davis - which will be remembered by many for a long time to come.
The query with the play, is - why the ball was thrown up in the air? Isn't it normally bounced when there is a stoppage in the field of play? Well, it isn't when the ground is wet; the ground was wet on the night of the match, but not completely soaked. One may ask - why the umpire at one end of the ground was bouncing the ball, while at the other, it was thrown up in the air.
The answer could be classified as being rather conspicuous, but I have information from a reliable source (the father of one of the other umpires in that same match) who claims that that particular umpire has a back problem, which doesn't allow him to bend over to bounce the ball properly - hence, why he resorted to the throw. You may then ask why he umpired in the first place - well, it is every players dream to participate in the finals which often results in players ignoring pain and possibly not resting injuries when required, and the same goes for the umpires. Nothing short of whistleblowing by a few close colleagues would have prevented the umpire from ajudicating in this match. The umpire in question still had the ability to run, and he is obviously regarded as a fair umpire - which is why he was selected in the first place.
What difference would a bounce have made instead of a throw? Of course, Sydney could have scored a goal regardless, but, this would have been a much less likely outcome. Geelong lost their premier ruckman in Steven King half way through the match, while the Swans' ruckman Jason Ball is an experienced journeyman who has been around for over a decade at the top level of the sport. This gave the edge to Sydney regardless, but even more so considering the reduction of variables - due to a throw-up instead of a bounce down.
The variables are far more unpredictable in a bounce than a throw. An Aussie Rules ball is not round, and it is quite hard to bounce so that it comes up perpendicular to the ground - which is the stipulated aim of each such action. A bounce, also takes longer before the ball comes into contact with either of the ruckman. Considering there were only seconds left, the throw-up gave the obvious advantage to the Swans, and they took their chance, and are now into the Grand Final.
If the ball was bounced down, as it should have been, the most likely outcome would have been the formation of a ruck, with 4-10 desperate players scrapping for the ball. The most likely outcome? The Cats would have been through to the preliminary final against St Kilda.
The moral of the story? There isn't really one, except that you have to take the good with the bad - such is the nature of sport.